It was a weird request. My friend, Mary Ann, asked if she could borrow some pickle juice. Huh? Who keeps pickle juice?
The purpose of pickle juice is to keep the pickles fresh and flavorful; so, when the pickles are gone, out goes the juice, right? That's a practice that makes Mary Ann go ballistic.
Mary Ann is famous for her potato salad. She makes 10 pounds at a time, and it disappears faster than homemade ice cream on a hot summer day. Her secret (which she confides to only a chosen few) is sweet pickle juice. Not pickles, not relish — only the juice. And lots of it.
So, I wondered if there might be other uses for the briny stuff. A quick search through the multiple thousands of tips readers have sent to me over the years, plus research online came up amazingly positive!
I had no idea that pickle juice had so many health benefits or could be used in so many ways around the kitchen.
IN THE KITCHEN
Most marinades for tenderizing meat contain the key ingredients of vinegar and salt. Adding things like garlic, salt, pepper and even a bit of sugar improves the flavor of the meat and the end result. Bingo! Those are common ingredients in pickle juice — either sweet or dill. Use the pickle juice to tenderize and flavor pork or beef — especially if you're dealing with a particularly tough cut.
Pour a can of drained, sliced beets into the pickle juice (sweet or dill) and after nine days, enjoy delicious pickled beets.
For a lively taste, use leftover sweet pickle juice in deviled eggs, or mix into meatloaf or meatballs.
Put a combination of various fresh vegetables such as sliced cucumbers, onions, carrots and pieces of cauliflower in leftover pickle juice (dill or sweet), and in a couple of days, you'll have delicious veggie pickles.
Drop a few peeled hard-boiled eggs in pickle juice to make pickled eggs. Yum! Store the jar in the refrigerator for a few days until they become magically pickled.
Mary Ann's Potato Salad Dressing: While she says she never makes it the same way twice, Mary Ann insists on Best Foods (Hellmann's) mayonnaise, lots of sweet pickle juice, mustard, salt and pepper — all to taste.
Drinking pickle juice might, at first, seem really gross. But you might change your mind once you learn the amazing health benefits.
Drinking a small volume of pickle juice relieves muscle cramps within seconds of ingestion — something for which there's lots of anecdotal evidence.
Just a few sips of pickle juice can quickly soothe annoying heartburn. Pickle juice seems to have the similar health effects as straight vinegar.
It's mandatory to stay hydrated, especially while exercising. Hard workouts for longer periods of time, especially in the heat, can become problematic because sweating quickly depletes sodium (electrolytes) and potassium. Pickle juice is loaded with both. Sipping pickle juice after a hard workout will help you recover normal electrolyte levels more quickly.
Pickle juice contains lots of vinegar. There is credible evidence to support the theory that consuming a little bit of vinegar every day may help you lose weight. According to a Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry study, "After 12 weeks, study participants who had consumed either about 1/2 ounce or 1 ounce of vinegar daily had lost more weight and fat than those who hadn't consumed any vinegar."
Control Blood Sugar
"A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research showed the effects of consuming a small serving of vinegar before a meal. The vinegar helped regulate blood sugar levels after the meal in people with type 2 diabetes," according to Healthline.
Dill Is Amazing
Choose dill pickle juice for more potential benefits. Dill contains quercetin, which has cholesterol-lowering properties. A study by the Hamadan University of Medical Sciences found that dill exhibited potential for lowered cholesterol in hamsters. It may have a similar effect in humans.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.